As Love Island's Callum And Molly Hit It Off, We Ask: Can Lust Ever Last?

“Callum is gonna choose Molly based on short-term feelings and lust, then find out that they actually have nothing else to build from. It happens every year.”
Callum and Molly share a bed in Casa Amor
Callum and Molly share a bed in Casa Amor

“Every time I look at her, the sexual attraction is massive, I want to rip her clothes off.”

Those were the words of Love Island’s Callum, speaking about his new Casa Amor interest Molly, who he smooched in a challenge in last night’s episode.

The issue? Callum is partnered up with Shaughna back in the main villa, who seems a tad more into him than he is into her – though she hinted to pals they’d “done bits” before the scaffolder headed into Casa Amor and met his current crush, Molly.

Fans of the show are calling it already: trouble is looming in paradise. Sharing her two cents, one viewer tweeted: “Callum is gonna choose Molly based on short-term feelings and lust, then find out that they have nothing else to build from. It happens every year.”

But what are “short-term feelings” – and are they different to lust? Yes, says psychotherapist Lucy Beresford. “Lust is focused on the sexual connection, on what the person looks like and you have a strong desire, as Callum says, ‘to whip their clothes off.’”

Lust is very immediate, so much so that it’s almost primitive, says Beresford. When a person is in lust, a lot of interaction will be flirtatious with a strong sexual undertone. There’ll be lots of touching and physical contact. “It’s that kind of arousal that happened in the days before we could speak.”

Short-term feelings come later, when two people think about the interactions they’ve had and reflect on them. It’s more about connection.

And these feelings (despite the name) last longer – they could still be present after six months in the real world, says Beresford.

Shaughna and Callum have been together for a long time in Love Island terms. Whereas Molly is a new attraction – and they barely know each other. Callum may be experiencing lust, as well as short-term feelings for Molly, considering how quickly things happen in the villa.

“On the evidence we’ve been shown, Callum clearly fancies Molly in a way that he doesn’t fancy Shaughna, unfortunately,” says Beresford, acknowledging Callum’s conversation with fellow Love Islander Finn, where he admitted he wasn’t as sexually attracted to Shaughna as he was to Molly.

“And Shaughna and Callum’s relationship has been characterised by quite a lot of criticism from her about how he is,” she continues. “There’s been quite a lot of disappointment on her side and annoyance at the nagging on his side.

“You could argue that what he’s leaning towards is the positivity of this new relationship with Molly – and in a way, even if they’re short-term feelings, why would you not go with something more positive?”

Can lust, or short-term feelings, ever last? “Love commonly starts out as lust and the two might even have an overlapping stage at some point in the relationship,” suggests an eHarmony advisor. But there’s also a risk that lust may never turn into love – it’s a gamble you have to take.

The question is, if the spark is there, do you act on it? How do you know if there will be something left to build on after lust fades?

Firstly, draw on your experiences from past relationships, says Beresford. Make sure you don’t fall into a trap of moving too fast and forming passionate attachments too quickly, which then have to be unravelled just as quickly when you realise there’s no lust anymore – and no short-term feelings either.

Context is also key, says counsellor and sex therapist Ammanda Major from Relate. Think about how you feel about the person you’re lusting over – and how you feel about your current partner. If your relationship has been on the rocks for a while, it might be understandable why you’re getting feelings for someone else.

“People have to make choices about how they behave,” says Major. “In some instances, go for it. But in others it might be helpful to sit back and think about whether it’s something you’ll feel ok about it in the morning.”

Ultimately, it’s about weighing up the situation. Be logical and rational – and think about how your short-term feelings might pan out. “I’m all in favour of people having amazing sex, but obviously Callum is in a tricky situation, because technically he’s in a relationship with somebody else,” says Beresford.

“If Callum and Molly met outside of Love Island I’d say go for it. But just don’t sell your house and volunteer to move in with this person after a few dates, because that’s happening a bit too quickly.”